Friends, Hosers and Countrymen!: Canadian Caricatures
Contains Illustrations, Index
P.J. Kemp was a journalist living in Brigham, Quebec.
As the title suggests, this is a collection of caricatures of who’s who in Canadian arts and politics. For instance, there’s an imperious Claude Ryan, in priest’s robes, with a rolled-up Le Devoir under his arm; Gerald Bouey, attired as a riverboat gambler, playing with guess who’s money; Maggie Trudeau pretending she doesn’t want publicity; Leonard Cohen flagellating himself with a cat-o’-nine-tails of pen nibs; Gordon Sinclair looking like an ad for a Herb Tarlek men’s wear store; and so on.
Isaac Bickerstaff is obviously a talented artist, his drawings sharp and accurate and entertaining. What’s debatable is how many people outside Toronto or Vancouver would want to shell out $10 for this particular form of Canadiana. One must possess a certain kind of social education even to know who a third of the people depicted are, and many of the rest fall into the category of people you love to hate. Without the ballast of newspaper or newsmagazine, Friends, Hosers and Countrymen is a project that’s just a tad too frothy.